“Preexisting conditions” is an excuse that the insurance companies like to use to deny benefits. Frequently they will hire their own doctor ("IME") to say that an Employee’s need for medical treatment or his disability is not because the Employee was injured at work, but instead due to preexisting conditions, usually degenerative disc disease.
The law is clear: work-related injuries which aggravate, accelerate or combine with pre-existing conditions to cause a disability or need for medical treatment is still a Workers Compensation injury.
In 2011, 3,550 employee injuries were controverted but only one-third of those, 1,224, filed claims with the Alaska Workers Compensation Board and employers paid their attorneys $9.4 million in 2011 to defeat employee's claims. Source: Alaska Workers Compensation 2011 Annual Report.
All Employers are required by law to carry Workers Compensation insurance, yet many do not. When that happens, the Employees think they have no right to benefits but that is not true.
All Alaska employees are insured in case they are injured at work. The State of Alaska has a Guarantee Fund which pays the same benefits to injured workers which they would get if their Employer carried insurance. In order to collect these benefits, the Employee must file a Claim with the Alaska Workers Compensation Board.